William Alerding A longtime resident of Indianapolis died after a brief illness Tuesday July 6, 2011 at St. Vincent Hospital. He leaves a large and loving family and many friends, but none so dear as his wife of 42 years, Barbara Williams Alerding, who together shared a lifetime commitment to human development work. With Barbara he worked around the world and in Indiana, studied and read voraciously, a partnership of caring, giving and hard work for the benefit of uncounted others. He was a teller of great stories, an educator and friend to those in need. His life was marked with amazing energy, a sense of wonder and huge joy. Bill is the son of the late John E. Alerding and Helena Goos Alerding. He was predeceased by his brother John E. Alerding Jr., and is survived by a brother Leo of Abington, Mass., and his sisters Therese Ryan, of Walpole, Ma., Mary Anne Curtis of Bantam, Ct., Louise Masters of Bangor, Me., and Patricia Horgan and husband Denis of West Hartford, Ct., and their families. He has always been a very dear uncle to his 24 nieces and nephews and many grandnephews and grandnieces. In the Indianapolis area, he is mourned by many cousins and other relatives and dear friends. Bill was educated at Christopher Columbus High School in Boston, Mass., the Josephite Minor Seminary in Newburgh, N.Y., and the Josephite Major Seminary in Washington D.C. He also studied at Tulane University and, most broadly, in the university of life around the world. He was ordained as a priest in 1961 and taught for five years at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans where he was active in the Civil Rights movement. With the Institute of Cultural Affairs, he served in Guatamala, Egypt, Zambia, Nigeria, Indonesia, Singapore, West Berlin, Mexico, Winnipeg, Canada, and Adelaide, Australia. In such far flung places, he and Barbara were committed to community organization and human development work. Bill and Barbara returned to the place of his family roots, Indianapolis, in 1991 where they were active in community affairs and continued his studies and professional endeavors at a variety of challenges. He was a enthusiastic golfer, reader, teacher and sports and political enthusiast. His passion for helping others never flagged and his work and life was dedicated to helping raise up others less fortunate. His capacity for storytelling was legendary and his wide range of interest was exhaustive. But he was never more deeply dedicated than in his love and care for Barbara, who returns the happy favor in unmatched devotion. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m Saturday at St. Michael's Church, 3354 West 30th Street, Indianapolis. In place of flowers, donations can be made to Little Sisters of the Poor of Indianapolis, Doctors Without Borders or other charities of one's choice.
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Published in the The Indianapolis Star on July 8, 2011